Update on parking near the Hocken Collections

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

Since my previous post on traffic issues we have updated our Parking Information webpage. For information and a map indicating where to park near the Hocken Collections while the realignment of  State Highway 88 is going please see our parking information page on the Hocken webpages
http://www.library.otago.ac.nz/hocken/parking.html

The former parking area has been shifted into Parry Street (access via Minerva Street). There is a sign indicating the parking for Hocken patrons. A walkway from the carpark to Hocken is under construction.

Parking is also available towards the University campus in Albany Street, Forth Street and Reigo Street. During University term time, parking may be more difficult to locate.

If you wish to drop off material for the Hocken’s collections, please ring 479 8868 and we will advise the best route to take to our loading bay.

There is a drop off bay located outside the front entrance to the Hocken, at the intersection of Parry Street and Anzac Avenue. Note that you can’t park here but visitors may be safely dropped off out of the Anzac Avenue traffic stream.

We expect there to be considerable disruption until at least the middle of 2011.

Locked away : Life in Mount Eden Prison

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | 3 Comments

What was it like inside Mount Eden Prison in the early 1960s? A manuscript discovered among Ernie Webber’s papers tells a colourful story. Himself a prisoner, Webber encouraged the writing of another inmate, Bert Pimley, whose novel The Rock Orchid is based on experiences inside. According to Webber, prison authorities applied ‘some viciousness’ when they discovered the manuscript, which they destroyed. Another copy was smuggled out, and Webber later tried to get it published. He was unsuccessful, but the typescript survives in his papers along with related letters and illustrations. The title refers to a character who resembles the beautiful but parasitic rock orchid.

Here are a few excerpts (with original spelling and punctuation):

Officer Desmond Rice was certainly a pathological study. Any time the women in the female division started a riot, Rice went across wearing a boxing glove on one hand, to knock a little sense into them. He got great satisfaction from this, mostly because he could not hurt his hand with the glove on it, nor leave marks on the women, but even if he did, who would believe such accusations, levelled at a responsible deputy principle officer? It stretched people’s credulity a lot when officer Dinny Burns and another, broke a girl’s arm, because she was a trifle independent. This was New Zealand. Such things could never happen here.

*     *     *     *     *

“If you get shifted to the basement, try not to get the ‘craps’,” advised Horne.
“Why? Is that bad?” Pintal wanted to know.
“It’s bad enough. There’s over ninety men living down there, and only one crapper. Of course, you could always use the pot in the cell if you liked.”
Also in the basement was the shower-house, kit-locker, and the “pound”, that dismal row of cold, empty punishment cells reserved for bread and water victims. Within the encircling walls was a fully-equipt boot-making shop, a tailor shop, a joinery department, laundry, tin-smiths shop, and a small department devoted to the manufacture of mail-bags. This prison even boasted a school-room and a chapel.
As they wandered about, Pintal and Horne were approached by a grinning chap, who told Cliff that young Tipu had just had a spot of bad luck. Got caught with Symes, said the chap, and went off, chuckling, to spread the news.
What did he mean by that, Cliff?” Berne asked.
“Tipu’s got bad habits. Gets himself shagged now and then by Bill Symes”

*     *     *     *     *

Gus Powell, the receiving officer, banned all comics that had guns in them, and all cheap books that had guns or half-dressed women on the covers. This was New Zealand’s toughest prison, not a Boys Home.
The officers in the sentry towers whiled away the tedious daylight hours furtively reading cow-boy books, and wing officers dodged into cells at any opportunity, to read a few chapters of almost anything lying about.
The magazine Man, a harmless monthly edition given to short stories and pictures of scantily-clad females, was banned, as also was the magazine People. But if one looked about enough, both of these editions could be found somewhere in the prison. The New Zealand weekly scandal paper, Truth, was definitely off-limits within the confines of the Mount, although a copy could usually be had, if perhaps a few days late.

Webber’s papers came to Hocken twenty years ago, but it was only during recent arrangement and description work that The Rock Orchid and other treasures came to light. Webber (1906-1983) was an intrepid New Zealand businessman. He was involved with the McArthur investment scandal of the 1930s, sold munitions in China during World War Two, and invested in forestry and other ventures back in New Zealand. He had passions for travel, entertaining, railways, and book collecting, and was part of New Zealand’s underground gay culture (the reason for one of his two spells in prison). All of these aspects of his life come through in his varied collection of personal and business papers of over ten shelf metres.

Blog post prepared by David Murray, Assistant Archivist, from Webber, Cyril Ernie Richard : Papers (MS-3333/197 and 198).

For a look at Ernie’s interest in collecting Railways books see
http://www.library.otago.ac.nz/exhibitions/all_aboard/index.html

Traffic and parking issues around the Hocken Library building

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 | Anna Blackman | No Comments

There is significant road work commencing in Anzac Avenue and Parry Street as of today which will result in the permanent closure of part of Parry Street adjacent to the Hocken Library building and the realignment of State Highway 88 to Port Chalmers. Barriers have gone up today closing this part of the street to vehicular traffic and as I am writing the road is being dug up!

If you are on foot, we advise approaching the building only from the Anzac Avenue side currently. PLEASE watch out for heavy machinery and take care to observe all signage erected by the contractors.

There is still plenty of parking available in the rest of Parry Street, which can be accessed from Minerva Street alongside the Leith Stream. There is also an area of Hocken visitor and staff parking set aside just off Parry Street. Please feel welcome to use this.

To get from Parry Street to Anzac Ave (and vice versa) for safety’s sake please don’t walk through the closed part of  Parry Street currently. There is a footpath along the north eastern side of the Unipol Building (the gym next door to the Hocken) which is safe to use to move between the two streets.

This work is planned to take about 6 months and we expect that access to the Hocken building from the Parry Street side will be difficult or unavailable at times. Access on foot from Anzac Avenue will be always available. We will try to keep you posted but the situation will be changing day by day. If you have mobility issues and want to visit the Hocken please contact us for advice on the day.